Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spinach and Rice Soup

Use very young spinach leaves to prepare this light and fresh-tasting Italian soup. Recipe serves 4.


1 1/2 pound (750 g) fresh spinach leaves, washed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
Generous 1 cup risotto rice
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shavings of pared Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, to serve


1. Place the spinach in a large pan with just the water that clings to its leaves after washing. Add a large pinch of salt. Heat gently until the spinach has wilted, then remove from the heat and drain, reserving any liquid.
2. Either chop the spinach finely using a large kitchen knife or place in a food processor and process the leaves to a fairly coarse puree.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and chili for 4-5 minutes until softened. Stir in the rice until well coated, then pour in the stock and reserved spinach liquid. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the spinach, with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the rice is tender. Check the seasoning. Serve in heated bowls, topped with the shavings of cheese.

Tip: Buy Parmesan or Pecorino cheese in one piece from a reputable supplier, and it will be full of flavor and easy to grate or shave with a vegetable peeler.

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